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My cat Catalina is 7 months old, pretty healthy and playful.

I'm worried because the temperatures are dropping now and the inside of our house isn't really warm during winter at night (15 degrees Celsius, 59 Fahrenheit). She sleeps on the sofa, and when I wake up, her fur and ears are cold, so I got her a fancy fluffy house about 50x50x50 cm in size, and it looks good relative to her size. She can move inside.

Now the issue is she doesn't sleep in her house, she keeps sleeping on the sofa and sometimes on the table. Should I worry, or are cats smart enough to use shelter if it is too cold for them? Can I do something so that she feels like using her house?

She isn't scared of her house or anything, she plays around it during the day and sometimes goes in randomly.

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    the important thing for a cat is where the cat cave is,is it in a safe quiet place where the cat can sleep,if not you need to move it.cats can be stubborn when it comes to where they feel comfortable :) – trond hansen Oct 20 '18 at 5:35
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    15°C is by no means dangerous or even particularily uncomfortable for cats. Her fur feels cold to you because it keeps the warmth on the inside and the cold on the outside. The sofa is a little bit insulating (feeling warmer to her) on its own, so as long as she sleeps on the table, she doesn't even feel cold. If she felt very cold, she would search for a warmer place to sleep on her own. – Elmy Oct 20 '18 at 19:16
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Cats do enjoy warm surfaces and there are a few options to entice her into her house.

  • Depending on what her house looks like, you can add a heat lamp, just be careful the lamp does not touch anything as this poses a fire hazard. I have seen outdoor cat houses in Canada with these to keep feral cats warm during the winter.
  • Pet heat mats - these mats typically don't get too hot for direct contact, read reviews on whichever products you see and contact the manufacturer if necessary.
  • Snuggle safe heat pads - the downsides to these are that you need to microwave them daily to keep their heat, as well as the need to add a thick blanket on top of the disk to prevent thermal burns. These disks can get very hot.
  • Window perch - I know it's not related to the house, but cats really enjoy sitting in the sunlight to warm up.

Along with the warming equipment, insulate the house with either foil insulation or foam to retain the heat inside.

This being said, 15 °C is not too cold for a cat. If she thought she was cold she would start to seek a warm place to rest.

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Possible frame challenge here, but your cat isn't using the house because she doesn't need it.

Her fur is cold to the touch because it's working - it's keeping body heat inside. And just like your ears, her ears will be perfectly OK at lower than body temperatures. Not all mammalian extremities need to be at full body temperature. This is why a furred critter has its temperature taken from the inside rather than by the skin.

As for the actual temperature, 15°C is nothing. Depending on breed, she is probably perfectly happy at even colder temperatures. If this situation changes and she does feel cold, she will find a corner to snuggle into, or maybe use the shelter, but it would have to be far lower than that. She'll wake up in the night feeling cold long before there is any kind of danger, and look for a solution.

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